Cupertino Dentist Explores the Damage of Clenching Teeth

frustrated woman clenched teethTeeth are meant to bite, grind, tear, and chew food multiple times a day, and are designed to do so with relative ease. When no food rests between upper and lower teeth, the friction from clenching and grinding can alter or destroy healthy tooth structure. Known as bruxism, habitual teeth clenching is a significant factor behind many forms of dental trouble, including worn teeth and damaged jaw joints (TMJ disorder). Since patients often exhibit bruxism in their sleep, it isn’t always obvious. However, as your Cupertino dentist explains, clenching teeth can leave clues, often in the form of dental damage, that can warn you of the habit’s existence.

Signs of Bruxism

Damaged/Worn Teeth

Patient’s don’t always exhibit toothaches from bruxism, unless a tooth is damaged enough to expose its sensitive inner chamber of nerves and blood vessels (called the pulp). During your regular dental checkup and cleaning, Dr. LaFrom will thoroughly inspect your teeth, gums, and the rest of your oral cavity for any signs of trouble. If excessive tooth wear or structural damage is found, then Dr. LaFrom may recommend a more comprehensive examination to test for habitual teeth grinding.

Mouth, Face, and Jaw Discomfort

Because of the excessive pressure placed on your jaws by constant grinding and clenching, bruxism often results in sore, damaged, inflamed, and/or misaligned jaw joints—a condition known as TMJ disorder. The discomfort can include sore and painful jaw and facial muscles, especially upon waking up; chronic and severe headaches; earaches, sometimes accompanied by a ringing in the ears (tinnitus); and occasional difficulty opening and closing the mouth.

Stop Clenching Teeth with Help from Your Cupertino Dentist

In most cases, dental damage can be averted by wearing a custom-designed mouthguard to protect teeth from grinding together at night. Depending on the severity of the condition, more invasive treatment may be required to correct an underlying jaw disorder or imbalance. To find out if you’re unconsciously destroying your smile by habitually clenching your teeth, or to learn your options for treating bruxism, schedule a consultation with Dr. LaFrom by calling your Cupertino dentist’s office today at (408) 996-8595. Located in the 95014 area, we proudly serve patients from Cupertino, Saratoga, Campbell, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Santa Clara County, Silicon Valley, and the surrounding communities.

~ by cupertinodentist on October 3, 2013.

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